My Dad’s a Goldfish – A dangerous tilting to the side

Sometime after the Goldfish died we put his house on the market. The solicitor emailed me after the photos had been taken for the sales brochure. At the end of the usual solicitor-speak explanation of how things would proceed he added, ‘There appears to be a boat winch bolted in place in the hall cupboard?’ Like maybe I didn’t know.

I emailed back, ‘Don’t all bungalows come with their own boat winch?’ He suggested we remove it before people came to view the house. He didn’t have much of a sense of humour.

Why did we have a boat winch bolted to the floor of the cupboard in the hall?

It all began when the Goldfish started to tip to one side. He seemed quite unaware of the fact he was tilting over. 20141106_163917 (Small)

We’d encourage him to sit up straighter but there was no response. We tried propping him up with cushions stuffed down the side of his wheelchair but that didn’t work either. No sooner was he propped up than he started sliding over to one side again.

20141109_165517 (Small)

Driving anywhere became a nightmare. I’d look in the mirror, see he had tipped over, head almost touching the floor, stop the car and hoist him partly upright, rearrange the cushions to support him and drive off. Ten minutes later, I’d have to repeat the process.

20141109_164531 (Small)

We spoke to the Occupational Therapist. I think I’ve said in previous posts we were so lucky with our OT – she was fantastic. She really cared about the Goldfish. She should be cloned. She immediately referred the Goldfish to the specialists from Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital (succeeded by the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital). They visit the various regional hospitals and the Goldfish was lucky to get an appointment almost immediately.

The DH took the Goldfish to his appointment and was very impressed by their can-do approach. It seemed our problem was by no means unique. They could help. The only drawback was that, even when the wheelchair was ready, the team would not be back in Dumfries for weeks. When the DH offered to drive up to Glasgow with the Goldfish, they, seeing our desperation, agreed.

The DH was so excited when the Goldfish tried his new chair he texted me to say it was a miracle – he could sit up straight again. The chair was wonderful. It was easy to manoeuvre except for getting it in and out of the house. Neither Wee-sis nor I could do it. The steps were shallow and we had a ramp but the chair was unbelievably heavy. We did try. Coming down, even backwards was terrifying. I don’t know how the Goldfish felt about it – he seemed remarkably calm. One tiny slip and I knew the chair would be on top of me. tilt-wheelchair

We had to find a solution or acquiring the wonderful new chair would curtail the Goldfish’s outings unless the DH was always going to be around to take the chair out and in the house. Wee-sis and I could manage everything else, including winching the chair into the Doblo. It was the vehicle winch which gave us the idea – so we fitted a boat winch inside the hall cupboard, which was directly opposite the front door.

It worked a treat.

44 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – A dangerous tilting to the side

    • She really was brilliant, David. I’ve never met anyone who was so quick to grasp the problem and see a solution. She had a great rapport with dad, too, and treated him like a human. Not all professionals did.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Absolutely brilliant idea. It’s amazing the things that you can do when you’re desperate and just how great they turn out…. It saddened me to see the photos of your dad though, he was such a smart man and would have been mortified to have been seen like that pre dementia days. It’s such a bloody awful disease. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fabulous solution. Luckily my mum is still mobile but many of the the residents in her care home suffer like this. I wonder if the condition applies to a specific form of dementia. It is great how you “normalise” discussion of such topics. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. It does seem to be quite a common condition which affects a lot of people, not only those with dementia but with things like Parkinson’s. If we’d been told about it before it happened we’d have been a bit better prepared and taken action sooner.


  3. Yes appropriate equipment, seating, wheelchair adjustments, all so important and sadly so often neglected. Or hard to get appointments or revisions and adaptations. Still can’t feel easy with the word Goldfish. It’s a similar problem to the Troon taxi outing, but that’s another story!!! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dad’s OT was a marvel. I don’t think we’d have coped so well with things if she hadn’t been around. Of course, not everyone could implement the boat winch solution and end up trapped in the house.
      I’d love to hear the Troon taxi outing story!


  4. The winch was a brilliant idea. The realtor had NO sense of humor. Since my mom is in hospice care now, they gave her a much better wheelchair so she’s more comfortable in her slumping. However, she hates to be moved – I think it makes her feel insecure, going from one room to another. So she spends all of her time in the ‘social/eating’ room except for night time. I think that’s fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pam. I’m glad your mum has a better wheelchair – it can make such a difference. I think it’s fine, too, for her to spend most of her time in the room where she feels most comfortable. Feeling secure is so important.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. With a bit of help and lots of imagination, it’s possible to get by. I’m sure your posts are a great help to many, because you share problems that people have to live in day in and day out. Thanks, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for the bravery inherent in this post. I’m just off to read a couple of others. It was great to read about the reason behind the boat winch. I certainly wouldn’t have worried about it if I’d come to look at the house.

    Liked by 1 person

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